LeBron James just hit one of the most impressive game-winning shots last night against the Pacers that recent memory can process, but it turns out this has now become something not all that unfamiliar. The running game-winning shot gave the Cavaliers a 3-0 series lead over the Raptors and was the fifth time LeBron James won a playoff game at the buzzer.
Here is a ranking of the five shots 5-1 based on how impressive they were:
5. May 22, 2013 — Pacers, Game 1 of Eastern Conference Finals
The Pacers were nearly ready to celebrate after Paul George hit three free throws in OT to give the Pacers a 102-101 lead over the Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, but there was one problem. That problem was they left 2.2 seconds on the clock. That is too much time for LeBron to take it to the hoop, and lay it up for the win. Wrong place wrong time, George:
4. May 5, 2018 — Raptors, Game 3 of semifinals
Talk about demoralizing, this one just adds insult to injury. The aforementioned shot is the definition of “impressive.” Explain this to someone who did not witness it: “A player in his fifteenth season ran full court, full speed, past multiple defenders, throws up an off-balanced floater at the buzzer to win the game, and drains it.” And make sure they believe it:
3. April 25, 2018, vs. Pacers, Game 5 of first-round
Just two weeks ago, LeBron hit a buzzer-beater that mirrored one nine years before to follow up his devastating block (goaltend) on Victor Oladipo the possession before. LeBron had exactly three seconds to receive the basketball, shake off a defender, get his feet set and score the bucket to avoid going to OT in a 2-2 series … no problem:
2. May 10, 2015 –vs. Bulls, Game 4 of semifinals
The Cavaliers were en route to fall down to a daunting 3-1 series deficit (well, until LeBron proved otherwise against the Warriors) to the Bulls but plans changed. With only 1.5 seconds remaining, LeBron told his coach to just give him the ball, which led to him attempting a corner fadeaway jump shot with one of the league’s best defenders on him … not too much for a King:
1. May 22, 2009 — vs Magic, Game 2 of Eastern Conference Finals
LeBron James’ first playoff game-winner remains his most impressive. At a time he was still classified as “not clutch,” but his doubters were shut up for the night. In danger of falling down 2-0 to the Magic, LeBron put the world on notice that with 60 seconds remaining, deep into the postseason, he can do that too. This shot may be hard to remember as LeBron has stacked his resume mightly in the past nine years, but this moment is sure to make the cut when his tribute video is one day being played.
Which one was the most impressive?